Sunday, October 19, 2008

sanctuary of my childhood

this weekend i have had more time than i've had in quite a while to be on my own with nothing pressing to do. i bounced between envisioning a time of relaxation and stillness at home with long, luxurious yoga sessions, reading for pure enjoyment, curling up for cat naps...OR going on yet another adventure somewhere in the world, for the fifth weekend in a row.

for some reason i could not settle into a calm, decisive place about anything. i just kept feeling waves of restlessness and agitation. there wasn't much content to the feelings, just anxious energy coming and going through my body and mind.

i am a deeply relational, curious person who thrives on being in conversation and relationship with others, who loves to travel and experience the world, but who also requires a rather significant amount of time and space with plenty of stillness. it's been a lifetime of push and pull trying to figure out this dance. living in korea has been a priceless gift because for the most part i have been given generous amounts of unstructured time to make of it what i wish. this has granted me the opportunity to gain a sense of how much time i truly need to carve out for myself to remain balanced and well, and yet there are still times of forgetting. being on the go 24/7 for the last month has reminded me of how important it is to slow down, even during periods of extreme busyness, to take care of myself in a daily way.
so, today after cleaning my apartment from top to bottom, a.k.a. getting grounded and inhabiting my space again after a month of being in and mostly out, i took myself to the woods. walking amidst the golden brown, crimson trees of autumn, i felt renewed access to that place inside that is always well. the challenging energies that had been coursing through me dissipated with each step.

i came across people having picnics on colorful blankets, children playing badminton over imaginary nets. everyone so friendly and kind as i passed by, offering me acorn jelly and a turn at the racket. i felt such joy being outdoors, under the cloudless, silvery blue sky, feet on dirt rather than concrete, that i started to skip and run! i bounded as far as the trail would allow and then collapsed upon the dry, leafy earth, breath heaving in my chest. i felt as though i'd found god or something!
reconnection with well being and joy, earth and sky, body and breath, community and grounded presence within. i guess that IS what the truest sense of god has always felt like to me, ever since i was a very small child spending every possible waking moment in nature....encountering this holy aliveness again and again in birches and cedars, maples and pines, oaks and always, always weeping willows. i remember relating with sky as though we were kin, laying for hours on the grassy earth dreaming up at the clouds, held like a baby...not a care in my soul. the sanctuary of my childhood. a continual "opening of eyes" as an adult.

"that day i saw beneath dark clouds
the passing light over the water
and i heard the voice of the world speak out,
i knew then, as i had before
life is no passing memory of what has been
nor the remaining pages in a great book
waiting to be read.
it is the opening of eyes long closed.
it is the vision of far off things
seen for the silence they hold.
it is the heart after years
of secret conversing
speaking out loud in the clear air.

it is moses in the desert
fallen to his knees before the lit bush.
it is the man throwing away his shoes
as if to enter heaven
and finding himself astonished,
opened at last,
fallen in love with solid ground."

by: david whyte
from: songs for coming home
published in 1984 by: many rivers press

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